Is this breastfeeding mom’s baby daddy trying to get back together with her? A mom in Northern Virginia was just court-ordered to bottle-feed her baby in a child custody dispute. Arleta Ramirez is upset about what this means for her daughter’s health — as well as her free time.
The Bottle-Feed Court Order Has Some Serious Implications for the Mom
After Arleta Ramirez gave birth to her baby girl in July, she and the dad, Mike Ridgway, went their separate ways. Arleta has been breastfeeding their child and believes it’s in her best interest to continue nursing.
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According to the Washington Post, Ramirez had difficulty pumping milk when she initially tried. Their baby also was rejecting bottles.
But Ramirez had substantial experience breastfeeding after nursing her son for two years. She also was following the World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatric recommendations. According to a plethora of research, breast milk contains nutrients that can prevent disease and other health issues in newborns.
But in late November, Arleta Ramirez was served a court order that mandated that she abide by strict feeding behaviors. “Mother is to make every effort to place the child on a feeding schedule and use a bottle,” it said. The order was given ahead of a custody visitation schedule wherein Ridgway was to start visiting the child 4 days a week beginning this month.
But what this means for Ramirez is that she now has to work overtime to pump milk for her baby or switch her to formula.
“Why are they forcing me to stop breastfeeding?” she told the Post. “Isn’t that her right? Isn’t that in her best interest?”
Ridgway sent an email to Ramirez stating that he would give her “space to both nurse and to pump milk for me to bottle-feed our daughter while she is in my care.”
“Past the age of 6 months I will continue to support breastfeeding and bottle-feeding our daughter breast milk as much as possible, while also supplementing with formula only when absolutely necessary,” Ridgway’s email continued.
Is the Baby Daddy Forcing the Breastfeeding Mom to Spend More Time With Him?
Arleta’s lawyer, Tara Steinnerd, said that the request is something that has become more common over time. Traditionally, mothers have been able to swoop sole custody due to breastfeeding needs. With equal rights coming into play, many men perceive that concept as sexist and unfair.
Steinnerd also said she thought Ridgway could be trying to force more time between Ramirez and himself.
“They come up with a myriad of excuses,” she said. “It’s about using breastfeeding as a weapon against visitation,” said Steinnerd.
Perhaps it’s because he knows she doesn’t want to stop breastfeeding and might choose to physically be present during his visitations.
Ramirez intends on fighting the court order but was advised to comply with it in the meantime.